When news came yesterday that the team would be signing kicker Shayne Graham, most assumed Graham would be a short-term fix as Gostkowski recovered from a thigh injury. That is no longer the case, as the Patriots, in announcing Graham's signing, placed Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve.
Losing Gostkowski is a big blow to the team. Gostkowski is one of the game's most accurate and dependable kickers, having connected on over 84% of his career kicks, including 10 of 13 this year. Gostkowski is also a threat on kick-offs, with 15 touchbacks through a little over seven games this season. Losing Gostkowski will certainly hurt the Patriots in the field position battle (replacement Shayne Graham had just eight each of the last three years).
The Patriots, a team that has played a few games close to the wire this season, now have to hope that Shayne Graham is as clutch a kicker as some of his predecessors. And for those wondering, Graham is 1/3 in two career playoff games, including an abysmal 0/2 in the Bengals playoff game last January against the Jets.